Time stands still for no one


Dear Hillary,

My Thai girlfriend is wonderful – except for one thing, she is timeless.  She will arrange to meet me at three in the afternoon and rolls up at four saying “Sorry I’m a little late.”  I don’t think one hour to be a “little late”, that’s a lot late, surely.  She has been even more late than that, but every time it is the same, “Sorry I’m a little late”.  Have you any ideas that I could try to get this girl to be punctual?


Dear (Punctual) Pete,

Have you tried buying her a watch, my poor punctual Petal?  I suggest you buy her a digital watch, or else it will be endless descriptions of “When the little hand is at three and the big hand is at twelve…”  You could also buy her a mobile phone and ring her up quarter of an hour before the appointment to remind her.  Then you could also get her a motorbike, so that she doesn’t have to waste time looking for a song taew.  To keep the motorcycle serviceable, it should be kept under cover, so while you’re shelling out the shekels, you may as well buy her a little house.  With that kind of investment you may as well marry the girl, so that next time you write to Hillary you can begin with “My Thai wife is wonderful – except for one thing.  She is timeless.”  My suggestion is to jump ship now, Pete, before it all becomes too much.  Thais are not noted for their punctuality, and very few of them are ever ‘on time’.  The concept is, that as long as nobody is killed because of lateness, there is really no problem.  That’s life in the relaxed Thai world, and you may just have to learn to live with it, or keep moving on.